Wondering why your leopard gecko sleeps at night? This guide is for you!
Leopard geckos are crepuscular. This means they spend the day sleeping, and wake up at dusk to rule their world.
After they hunt at twilight, they spend the night digesting food and become active again at dawn to hunt, play, and mate.
As such, it is rather odd to see your leopard gecko sleeping at night. This is simply not in their nature!
Your leopard gecko sleeps at night because of the problems he is going through. This could result from sickness, stress, overfeeding, underfeeding, and poor enclosure conditions. Find out what is affecting your pet and help him deal with it. If need be, talk to an expert exotic animal vet for guidance.
Why Does Your Leopard Gecko Sleep at Night?
#1 – It Happens Sometimes
If the leo is lethargic and sleepy only sometimes at night, there is no need to panic. Although leopard geckos are crepuscular, you may catch them napping at night once in a way.
Unless this becomes too common, you don’t have to be overly concerned about it. Instead, keep a close eye on your leo and determine whether his other behavior patterns are normal.
Also, you need to bear in mind that your leopard gecko at home need not be as active as those in the wild.
Considering that he is not always alert for predators, he may take the occasional nap at night. Also, this lizard does not worry so much about his source of food as his counterparts in the wild.
However, consider that a leopard gecko sleeping at night goes against his centuries-old instincts. As such, it should not be taken as a normal leo behavior.
#2 – They Are Not Sleeping
It could be that your leopard gecko was not sleeping but just resting to allow digestion to take place. Unless you have irrefutable proof that your pet has been sleeping at night, don’t be quick to judge it.
You can set up a camera that surveys everything this lizard does at night.
Suppose you catch their every move and realize they are actually sleeping. In that case, you can investigate further the cause of this odd behavior.
Also, observe him closely during the day (when you are awake) to see whether he’s sleeping. If he stays awake all day, day after day, you have cause for concern.
Your investigation should delve deeper into his feeding habits and living conditions.
#3 – Poor Tank Conditions
If you’re convinced that your pet has been sleeping at night, proceed to investigate the tank conditions.
A thing that really makes the life of leos miserable is poor tank temperatures. These animals are highly sensitive to temperature changes.
A drop of just a few degrees can make your pet lethargic. He will become less active both during the day and at night.
Low temperatures make it hard for leos to digest food. This means the food is not converted into the energy they need to move around and remain active.
#4 – Poor Diet
Here, we are looking at both the quality and quantity of the food you give your pet. For example, do you feed your leopard gecko the right number of insects based on his age and health status?
Is the food diverse and nutritious? Does he get enough vitamins and calcium? So often, some keepers forget to dust their leo’s diet with supplements.
If this is the case with your pet, he’s bound to suffer from lethargy and fatigue after some time. This will eventually be manifested as sleeping most of the time.
#5 – Overfeeding
Do you sometimes feel sleepy and lazy when you overeat? This happens to some animals, as well.
Your leopard gecko may be sleeping when he’s supposed to be active because you overfeed him. On the other hand, it could be that you’re not following a proper feeding schedule, leading to overfeeding.
A good feeding schedule stipulates when to find your gecko, the number and type of insects, when to give treats, and the supplementation required.
If you don’t have such a schedule, it’s best that you make one as soon as possible.
#6 – Poor Lighting
Light is essential to your leopard gecko’s life because it enables him to maintain the proper circadian rhythm.
Leopard geckos in the wild do not have the problem because they rely on the sun for all their lighting needs.
But at home, you need to maintain proper lighting hours for your leopard gecko. This pet needs about 12 hours of light and 12 of darkness.
Of course, you can make a few adjustments based on the season. For example, daylight can be slightly longer in summer and shorter in winter.
#7 – Presence of Parasites
Your leopard gecko sleeps at night because of parasitic attacks. This may happen in two ways.
One could be that the attacks on your pet have made him suffer from lethargy, loss of appetite, and diarrhea.
These diseases and conditions may pin him down to the extent he spends all his time sleeping – including nighttime.
The other problem could be that your pet is harassed by pests or parasites during the day. Some pests are known to be active only during the day, meaning the only time your leo can sleep is at night.
Again, this calls on you to take a closer look at your leopard geckos living conditions to determine the genesis of his woes.
#8 – Stress and Anxiety
Stress and anxiety cause sleep problems in many animals, humans, and leopard geckos included.
One of the things you need to check out for is the presence of stressors in the enclosure or around it. For example, is your pet being overhandled? Is he eating enough? Is the environment noisy? If he has tank mates, how well does he get along with them?
These could be some of the reasons your pet has erratic sleeping patterns.
#9 – Diseases
Your leopard gecko could be suffering from diseases that usurp his energy, and he thus spends most of his time sleeping.
Some diseases compromise his immunity, making him weak and unable to carry out his usual nighttime activities.
Some of the diseases that can immobilize your leopard gecko include:
Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD)
This disease affects the bones, making them spongy and weak. It is caused by a lack of Vitamin D3. It also affects your pet’s body structure, making waking, eating, mating, and playing impossible.
If this disease is not arrested in good time, it has a 95% death rate.
Gout comes about when uric acid in your leopard gecko starts forming crystals. These crystals settle in limbs, causing excruciating pain – just like gout in humans.
Gout occurs because of poor living conditions, heavy protein diets, and kidney problems.
Gout causes so much pain in leos that this animal cannot move around; it is forced to sleep most of the time.
How to Help a Sleepy Leopard Gecko
Investigate the Abnormality
Find out why your leopard gecko sleeps during the night when he’s supposed to be active. Then, you may not have much to worry about if he appears and behaves normally during the day.
But, keep a close eye on him, nonetheless.
If the problem is accompanied by signs of disease, seek your vet’s immediate intervention. Don’t allow your pet to stay with a condition that could turn out to be life-threatening.
Warm Up the Enclosure
Your leopard gecko could be oversleeping because his enclosure is too cold. Take nighttime temperature readings and verify whether they are within the acceptable range.
If it falls below 210 C (690 F), your pet is too cold, and you need to heat up the enclosure to around 250 C (770 F). Daytime temperatures should be higher at about 270 C (800 F).
Ensure that heaters have thermostats to monitor and regulate this temperature.
Adjust the Lighting Times
Have you been using the light bulbs properly? If not, you will have to adjust the lighting hours to create the proper day-night cycle.
Light bulbs are meant to govern your leopard gecko’s circadian rhythm. To achieve this, install a timer to automatically switch the lights on during the day, and off at night.
Ensure that the time you buy is compatible with the lights you’re using.
Check for Signs of Illness
Your leopard gecko could be oversleeping because he’s unwell. Check for signs of illness to determine this.
Some common signs of disease include loss of appetite, diarrhea, rheumy eyes, breathing problems, vomiting, and weakness.
If your leopard gecko is not brumating, you should have him investigated for disease. He may have been attacked by fungi, viruses, or bacteria and needs your intervention.
There are a number of things that may cause your leopard gecko to sleep at night. Because of the diversity of these possibilities, don’t leave anything to chance.
Investigate every little possibility and rule it out, or deal with it if it’s the cause of this problem. By far and wide, many keepers indicate that leopard geckos sleep at night because of poor lighting.
This means the leos lose their circadian rhythm; they can’t tell whether it’s day or night.
Frequently Asked Questions ((FAQs)
How Much Should a Leopard Gecko Sleep Per Day?
On average, leopard geckos should sleep for 12 hours per day. Being crepuscular animals, leopard geckos in the wild spend their daytime hidden from the sun’s sweltering heat.
They only come out at dusk when the temperatures are more relaxed and friendlier. Also, at around this time, there are fewer predators around.
Why is My Leopard Gecko Sleeping Too Little?
The very same reasons that make your leopard gecko sleep at night could also make him sleep too little.
Different leopard geckos are affected by stress, feeding issues, poor living conditions, and disease differently.
While one leo may tend to oversleep, another will lose sleep altogether.
When Should I Take My Sleepy Leopard Gecko to See the Vet?
Take your leopard gecko to see the vet if you suspect he is sick. For example, don’t waste time if he loses appetite, becomes lethargic, or shows signs of an infection.
Since you don’t know what your pet is dealing with, avoid self-medication. A vet is the best-placed expert to give you advice about your leopard gecko’s health.
Before the vet prescribes treatment, they may have to run a few tests to pinpoint the problem.
Provide any samples required for this to be done.